The Silver Spoon's Comic Cookbook and All Its Images

May 22, 2015

We’ve been told not to judge a book by its cover, but what about its photography, layout, typefaces, paper—and how they all interact with each other? Each week, we’ll be sharing a book spread that’s worth taking a close look at for one reason or another. And we’ll ask you: What do you think about it?

Today: The Silver Spoon books don't have illustrations—except this one.

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What happens when a classic cookbook without illustrations becomes fully illustrated—in comic form? Take fifty Silver Spoon recipes and teach people how to make them in panels and you get Chop, Sizzle, Wow. It's a new kind of recipe, one that relies on images more than text. It makes us wonder:

  • Would you cook from visual recipes? Have you (and how'd it go)?
  • Do you find this approach easier or harder to cook from?
  • Does it only work with simple recipes?
  • Who is the audience for this book?

Let us know in the comments!

Thanks to Kitchen Arts & Letters for letting us borrow this book.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Nancy
  • AntoniaJames
  • Ginger
  • sexyLAMBCHOPx
  • melomel
Editor/writer/stylist. Author of I Dream of Dinner (so You Don't Have To). Last name rhymes with bagel.


Nancy June 1, 2015
as far as I can tell, these illustrated directions are good for simple recipes with simple techniques, and for people who are new to cooking or process things visually or both. I've read some in a local paper (Toronto) that used to publish them weekly. For me, someone who messes around with recipes, changes ingredients based on how the recipe worked for me, etc, a picture format wouldn't be that useful long term. For others, maybe yes. The cookbook market is big. Live and let live.
AntoniaJames May 22, 2015
My immediate reaction was, "Is this a paroday?"

I doubt that I would ever buy it or even check it out of the library for myself, although I could see giving it to a child whose parents / grandparents / other adults don't cook at all, and/or who wants to teach himself or herself how to cook. (I'd probably give send him or her a list of links to some good skills videos as well.)

Of course, if I knew such a child and he or she lived within reasonable driving distance, I'd invite the child to come over to my house and cook with me on the weekends . . . . . ;o)
Ginger May 22, 2015
I gave this book to my son (13), who has enjoyed trying out various pasta recipes following the visual instructions. I think it is very appealing to kids, making it easier to follow instructions for processes they have very little experience of. Personally I prefer short and clear instructions - but that's probably my years of experience, combined with a lack of patience...
sexyLAMBCHOPx May 22, 2015
I like the visuals. I need to check this book out at the library!
melomel May 22, 2015
Yes! I have a copy of Lucy Knisley's Relish ( and it's delightful. While it's more a graphic novel than a cookbook, she does have a number of illustrated recipes, and I love pulling the book out whenever I want to make Pasta Carbonara. The illustrated steps make it easy to glance at the book and see what to do next, without having to hunt through text.